… A peep into an emerging world most influential pastoral dynasty
For Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, General Overseer and Head of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) worldwide, entry into God’s vineyard as a leader of labourers is not happenstance. If there are men and women who were truly called to tend the flock in Christendom, he is certainly one of them.
In his 37 years as leader of, unarguably, the Pentecostal church with the largest spread on the planet (with branches in 196 countries as at March, 2017), Adeboye has raised great men and women of God within and outside Nigeria, not to mention the flock of millions of worshippers around the world to whom he has remained a symbol of spiritual direction and guidance. It wasn’t for nothing that in 2009, Newsweek magazine listed him among the world’s 50 Most Influential People in the World.
As Adeboye celebrated his 75th birthday recently, attention naturally focused on his life, spiritual journey and accomplishments as leader of RCCG, especially the credit of taking the church to all the corners of the globe. Not much seems to be known about the fact that he has broken what had remained a jinx among church leaders, as regards guiding their offspring on the same path on which they guide others.
It is common knowledge or, rather, it is generally believed that children of church leaders do not, most often, follow in the footsteps of their parents. Examples abound of some children of well-known religious leaders growing up to become societal failures and morally bankrupt, while their parents, quite paradoxically, spend time and energy raising their congregations in the ways of God. It is a practical demonstration of a popular adage among the Ibibio in Akwa Ibom State, which takes a swipe at the carpenter that makes doors for others while leaving his house without doors that is, helping others and neglecting one’s self.
There are examples in the Bible to buttress this paradox. For instance, Moses groomed Joshua who followed him everywhere as what would be known today as special assistant or, in derogatory parlance, errand boy, understudying one of the greatest and most influential leaders in human history who is associated with two epochal events of receiving the 10 Commandments on Mount Sinai and leading the Israelites out of 400 years of captivity. But he left his own children in the care of his wife and father-in-law, Jethro, to bring up. The result was that Joshua grew up to become not just a great prophet, writing one of the sacred books in the Old Testament, but also one of the most visionary leaders of Israel, while not much is known, till date, of the children of Moses, not even Gershom, his first son.
From the time Adeboye’s children started arriving, he and his wife, Foluke, the pair fondly called Daddy and Mummy G.O., had decided they would be different from some other church leaders. The religious icon apparently had a clear vision of where he was taking RCCG, and therefore could not imagine his children not being on the bandwagon. In fact, they would not only be on the train of the religious revolution he was inaugurating, but would actually occupy relevant driving seats. He groomed them practically in the same way he was teaching others, to live out his teachings to the multitudes that are privileged to listen to him on the pulpit or see him on television.
It cannot be ascertained now if the presence of Adeboye’s children in God’s vineyard as labourers alongside their parents is by a decree issued by the patriarch, as some influential fathers are wont to do, or if they voluntarily embraced priesthood – whether by conscription or enlistment. But it is quite significant that all his children are actively and fully involved in the work of RCCG as pastors, having gone through the mills, learning the ropes as others are expected to do. Today, they hold important positions in the church with the largest followership in the world.
His journey in God’s vineyard
Adeboye was born on March 2, 1942 at Ifewara, in Osun State. He did not have a particularly pleasurable childhood, not having been born with a silver spoon in his mouth. But this did not deter his interest in education.
He had his secondary education at the Ilesha Grammar School, before proceeding to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, to study Mathematics.
He could not continue at Nsukka when the Civil War broke out in 1967, and had to transfer to the University of Ibadan, where he obtained a B.Sc. in Mathematics in 1967, and subsequently obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Lagos.
Adeboye had a stint as lecturer at the universities of Lagos and Ilorin, before joining RCCG in 1973, where he translated sermons by the church’s founder, The Reverend Josiah Akindayomi, from Yoruba to English.
He was appointed General Overseer of the church in 1981, following the death of Akindayomi.
A controversial regulation by the Financial Regulatory Council of Nigeria early this year, requiring religious leaders who have served for 20 years to step down saw Adeboye announcing his decision to relinquish his position as general overseer of RCCG in Nigeria, while retaining the position at the global level. It was an announcement that caused a big stir among the Christian fold in the country, especially the Pentecostal flock.
It is not clear if the revered leader has rescinded the decision, but as far as members of RCCG in particular and the general public are concerned, he remains the G.O.
Adeboye’s dynasty of clergies comprises him as the patriarch, his wife as the matriarch, and his four children, all carving a niche for themselves in their own right. They are the ones that help to tend the light that the leader lit about 37 years ago, from within the family, that is.
Pastor (Mrs.) Foluke Adenike Adeboye
Pastor Foluke Adeboye is the matriarch of the Adeboye clan. She is the other half of Daddy and Mummy G. O.
Foluke has remained the pillar of the matrimonial and spiritual successes that Adeoboye has recorded since destiny brought them together on September 8, 1967. Information is sketchy about whether or not she had already gone far in the ways of the Lord, or was even on the path, before she met the man who would later lead the largest congregation of Pentecostal Christians on the planet. But she has, in the last 50 years, demonstrated, in practical terms, the aphorism that says behind every successful man there is a woman.
Foluke is said to have rare gifts for meticulous planning, administration, counselling, evangelism, mentoring, ministering and hospitality. She selflessly carries on the mission of giving love, succor and hope to the hopeless, and inspiring them to greater heights through moral, spiritual and material support. She has incredible capacity for work, with unparalleled initiative, through involvement in various projects and ministries.
He passion for education based on Christian values made her to sow the seeds that grew to become the Christ the Redeemer’s Schools chain, which blossomed into the Redeemer’s University, one of the leading private universities in the country.
Foluke is a dutiful wife and a role model to several married women among the Christian faith, not just in RCCG, but also in other denominations. In a video clip in which high ranking Christian men and women sent Daddy and Mummy G.O. congratulatory messages on the golden anniversary of their marriage, the couple was thanked immensely for being a role model to many in the Christian world on the institution of marriage, and how it should be. Undoubtedly, a large chunk of the encomium went to Foluke, for, if a marriage succeeds, the praise goes to the woman for being a good home manager. And if it fails, she carries the can.
Pastor (Mrs.) Bolu Adubi
The only female among Adeboye’s four children, Pastor (Mrs.) Bolu Adubi lives in Maryland, the United States, with her husband, Dr. Akinsanya Adubi, a senior pastor in the Jesus Palace parish of RCCG in that city.
Bolu understood quite early the burden, challenges and expectations that come with being a child of a great religious leader like her father. She was also familiar with the common belief that such children never grow up to be true reflections of their parents or the latters’ teachings.
She therefore went a step further beyond being a pastor in the church, to creating a platform, The Royal Priesthood Ministry, to provide guidance for the children of pastors and ministers, and also as an avenue for them to express themselves.
Bolu’s focus on this category of children is informed by her understanding that they are the ones that will lead the next phase of the transformation of RCCG, which started as a revolution by her father, that is, when her generation would have left the stage.
As a mother, she understands the needs of children, and has not disappointed in in her striving to be a beacon of hope for them. Her effort at guiding the children on the path that they should tread has yielded tremendous results.
Bolu and her husband are blessed with foul lovely children.
Pastor Leke Adeboye
Pastor Leke Adeboye holds a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, as well as a Master’s in Engineering Project Management. He has had various working experiences with reputable organisations, including Accenture.
Leke’s dream was to establish and manage his own aerospace corporation. But, as they say in Christendom, God “arrested” him and gave him a different mandate – to leave everything and follow his father, just as Jesus asked the rich man in the Bible to dispose of all his riches to the poor and follow him.
He got the divine call to go beyond just being a member of RCCG, as he intended to be and, in no time, became the youngest member of the church to hold the position of Assistant Pastor in a branch of the church in the United Kingdom. He is, today, the personal assistant to Adeobye, his father.
Leke combines his job as personal assistant to his father with raising and mentoring the youth in the church. It is an assignment he handles with passion, the reason he is called, variously, teacher, counsellor and mentor. With his life motto, ‘Heaven is the goal’, he teaches the youth how to draw closer to God, hear from Him and understand one’s purpose in life.
A highly successful entrepreneur, Leke is the brain behind AO3V, the organization that produces the RCCG wristband that has become the identity of millions of the church’s members, especially in Nigeria. You will not fail to notice it conspicuously around the wrists of the young and old, men and women, in RCCG branches, offices, on buses, taxis and flights, at motor parks, on the streets – even footballers wear it on the field of play. It’s a measure of the pride with which members identify with the church.
He is married to Mrs. Titilope Adeboye, with whom he has a daughter.
Pastor Adeolu Adeboye
Pastor Adeolu Adeboye has an entirely different calling in his father’s ministry. You are not likely to see him preaching and teaching from the pulpit, or playing any significant role inside the auditorium while service is going on. That is because he job is mainly outside the auditorium.
Adeolu’s task is to ensure the church’s surroundings are kept as safe and secure as possible, especially during programmes. He oversees security and traffic control on the grounds of the famous Redeem Camp on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, under a unit called, Team Nehemiah.
The dexterity and expertise with which he handles the job ensures there are no security lapses, which usually pose serious challenges at events with a collection of thousands of people, sometimes throughout the night. He also manages traffic, which could sometimes be chaotic at such venues, to ensure there are no hiccups. On special occasions like the monthly Holy Ghost Night, the periodic Holy Ghost Festival and the annual Holy Ghost Congress, the latter which draws participants from around the world, his team has to work in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps to guarantee smooth flow of traffic on the busiest road in the entire southern part of the country.
As a young man, Adeolu is a fashion buff. Not for him the stereotyped picture of men of God conservatively clad in old-fashioned attires, as though the hood necessarily makes the monk. He loves fashion, which explains why he introduced a noticeable dress sense into the RCCG community. This, he did, with establishment of numerous stores, with the name, The Wise Men.
Adeolu is married to Mrs. Tope Adeboye, and they are blessed with three sons.
Pastor Dare Adeboye
Pastor Dare Adeboye, who is known by the sobriquet of Pastor D, is an influential pastor in the youth wing of RCCG.
He has served in several branches of the church, both within and outside the country, including holding the position of Provincial Youth Pastor for the Kaduna 1 Province and Youth Pastor for RCCG Region 8, and also serving in Abuja as North Central Youth Evangelist, covering the youth, RCF, RCCF and PSF in Niger, Benue, Kwara, Nasarawa, Kogi and Plateau states.
Dare has held the position of National Affairs and International Director of Programmes, as well as Chairman, Organising Committee of the 70 Hours Messiah’s Marathon Praise, and National Youth Convention and Northern Zone of the Abuja SHIFT. He was also, at one time, Senior Pastor of the RCCG House of Praise, Birmingham, England.
His various positions in RCCG, especially those in which he has had direct responsibility for the youth, have enabled him to have a good understanding of issues relating to raising them in line with the church’s doctrines and teachings. He spends time educating the youth and mentoring them on the various ways in which they can utilize the potential for their material and spiritual advancement wherever they may find themselves.
He is married to Mrs. Temiloluwa Adeboye, with whom he is blesseed with a daughter.